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Abortion, Conscience, and Doctors

Suggestions to end conscience protection ignore the importance of conscience and rely on a circular—and baseless—understanding of a woman’s “right” to abortion. Following such suggestions would be detrimental to the entire health care system.

“If people are not prepared to offer legally permitted, efficient, and beneficial care to a patient because it conflicts with their values, they should not be doctors,” declares Julian Savulescu of Oxford University. Savulescu’s position, known as the “incompatibility thesis,” contradicts important statements about the rights of conscientious refusal articulated by the American Medical Association, U.S. federal law, and international law. So, what reasons are given to justify the idea that doctors must perform abortions?

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